AT A MEETING of the UIC General Assembly in Montréal last month, the return to membership of Russian Railways after an absence of 58 years was approved unanimously. A series of joint ’technical discussions’ will now take place, leading to full membership for RZD in about a year.

UIC Chairman Benedikt Weibel described the return of RZD as ’a prime example of the spirit of the October 2005 Delhi Declaration, which set out to transform UIC into a real worldwide organisation’.

The General Assembly also approved a new two-level governance structure. At the global level, the Executive Board membership has been increased and balanced between the world’s railway regions. Five Regional Assemblies will cover Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. These will have ’a large degree of autonomy, with permanent support on hand from a regional support unit’.